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Carol Kinsey Goman
Leadership consultant

Carol Kinsey Goman

Carol Kinsey Goman is an executive coach, author and keynote speaker. Her latest book, The Nonverbal Advantage, will be followed by "The Silent Language of Leaders," to be published in April by Jossey-Bass.

Face time still matters

Question: Through the effective use of online social media, a small group of political amateurs were able to organize and instigate street demonstrations across Egypt that now threaten to topple the Mubarak regime. How does their success change our notions of what leadership in the Internet age is all about?

As trendy (and accurate) as it is to focus on the power of social media in this digital age, when it comes to leadership, face-to-face is still the most preferred, productive and powerful communication medium. Here's why: In face-to-face meetings, our brains process the continual cascade of nonverbal cues that we use as the basis for building trust and professional intimacy. Face-to-face interaction is information rich. We interpret what people say to us only partially from the words they use. We get most of the message (and all of the emotional nuance behind the words) from vocal tone, pacing, facial expressions and body language. And we rely on immediate feedback--the instantaneous responses of others--to help us gauge how well our ideas are being accepted.

So if you want your message to capture attention, inspire people or to build a relationship, I'd advise you to deliver it in person.

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By Carol Kinsey Goman

 |  February 7, 2011; 3:36 PM ET
Category:  Pop culture Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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While face-to-face communication is definitely the most effective form of leadership, we can't help but acknowledge how technology is affecting our social world and in turn our ideas of leadership. Face-to-face communication would not have resulted in the mass amounts of Egyptian demonstrations against Mubarak, because there simply would not have been any means for the political amateurs to reach all Egyptians in that manner. Instead, they employed one of the most pervasive forms of communication--the internet-- to help disperse their message. While tone, pacing, facial expression and body language are all important in a leader effectively communicating a message, they were all comprisable for the Egyptian people- getting a widespread message across to all Egyptians via the internet was the best leadership decision these political amateurs could have made.

Posted by: lizpyoung | February 8, 2011 6:04 PM
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